Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The Civil, Korean and Vietnam Wars

War-there is nothing glamorous about it.  People die, property is destroyed. 
War is a great equalizer-anyone can die and whether you live in a ramshackle shack or a magnificent mansion-each can be destroyed.

Perhaps the saddest conflict the United States ever experienced was The Civil War.  Brother fought against brother, families against families and in the end, millions were dead and much of the nation was destroyed.

While the North and South were eventually reunited and slavery was abolished the effects of the war are still felt even today.

‘The New Civil War Handbook: Facts and Photos for Readers of All Ages’ by author Mark Hughes and published by Casemate Publishers/Savas Beatie, examines the great American conflict.

If you’re anything like me reading and understanding history can be frustrating, time-consuming and confusing.  When it comes to major wars I often find myself struggling to understand all the ramifications and pivotal events.

Most history books about war can be daunting to plow through.  The Civil War is an especially convoluted conflict especially considering the sheer scale of it.

‘The New Civil War Handbook: Facts and Photos for Readers of All Ages’ condenses the war into easy to understand sections detailing battles, weapons, key figures and more complemented with lots of photos, charts, maps and statistics and easy to understand concise text.

One of my all-time favorite TV shows is M.A.S.H. that takes place during The Korean War-or as it was originally labeled-The Korean Conflict.

It hardly seemed a simple conflict by those who took part in it.
The Korean War was the first war that the United States took part in that there was no clear-cut victor.

In ‘Images Of War Korea The Ground War From Both Sides’ by Philip Chinnery and publisher Pen & Sword, the Korean ‘Conflict’ is examined thoroughly.

The war between North and South Vietnam was one of the most brutal wars ever waged.
Appalling weather, unbearable conditions and the constant ‘give and take’ of the war wasted lives over taken and retaken land.

Guerrilla warfare pitted against conventional warfare ultimately resulted in no one winning.
Filed with up candid photographs the book delves into the war on a personal level and the toll it took on both sides.

This book brings the horror of war up close and personal with its in your face and shockingly candid examination of The Korean War.

In 1972 I was 19 years old and during that year I was sweating the possibility that I would be drafted and sent to fight in The Vietnam War.

Fortunately my draft number was high and I did not have to go.

Unfortunately many of my generation were not so fortunate-many of my classmates-went and did not return.

The Vietnam War was doomed from the beginning.  Politicians and bureaucrats on both sides of the conflict doomed an entire generation to give their lives up for nothing.

In the end nothing changed-all those wasted lives.

The Vietnam War, much like The Korean War, pitted American soldiers against an enemy they could not differentiate from civilians.  Friends would soon become foes and killing and dying abandoned conventional war tactics.

‘The Illustrated History Of The Vietnam War’ by Andrew West and Chris McNab from Amber Books, successfully portrays the war in an outstanding hardbound book filled with black and white and color photos, maps and charts chronicles the war from its early days to its final tragic conclusion.

For someone from my generation it is sobering reminder of the war that no one wanted.  For today’s generation it is an eye-opener that encourages readers to never forget and to learn from history.

It’s a fascinating tour of the one of the most controversial wars the United states ever took part in.